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Blizzard Exposes Detailed WoW Character Data 233

Posted by Zonk
from the seatec-astronomy dept.
Gavin Scott writes "Blizzard has introduced a new web site called the Armory which lets you get information on any World of Warcraft character, extracted from their live databases, in near real-time. This exposes a great deal of information that was not previously obtainable including profession choices, skill levels for all skills, and the character's complete talent specification and all faction reputation data, along with all gear currently equipped. The complete roster of any guild or arena team is also available. Some players are upset about this, such as arena PvP teams who now have all their gear and talent choices exposed to the world, or players with non-standard or less-popular talent choices who fear they will have difficulty getting into pickup groups now that people can instantly find out everything about them. Are these complaints fair? Blizzard claims to own all the data and the characters, but at what point does this data represent personal choices and information about their players which would be covered by their own privacy policy? In a virtual society, should people be able to present a view of themselves that differs from (virtual) reality, or should all details be exposed?"
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Blizzard Exposes Detailed WoW Character Data

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  • by Samalie (1016193) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:33PM (#18200874)
    I'm a WoW player, just back & very casual in my playstyle. Do I give a crap if anyone can see my Character's build/gear/etc? Not one bit.

    I can see where some of the hardcore types might want to conceal their information, but IMHO its not a true "Your rights" issue - they are not revealing any information about YOU, just your character.

    The only "risk" here is if someone has some "secret" character build that kicks ass, its now exposed to the world - but on the same token, its not just about the build, but the player behind the keyboard.

    So a long-winded post to say "No I don't give a crap" :)
  • Great idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by obeythefist (719316) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:37PM (#18200916) Journal
    But like most corps, Blizzard forgot that people like options and they like to feel like they have rights.

    This should have been opt-in. Instead, I don't think you can even opt out.

    Sure, 90% of players won't care, but what about the high end gamers who develop a secret 2v2 PvP secret sauce?
    Since they don't actually have real lives, their performance and uniqueness in WoW PvP means a lot to them!

    Blizzard jeapardises this quite a lot without thinking too hard about the consequences.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:42PM (#18200984)
    I would like to see aggregate data, I do not really care about individuals. Knowing the percentages of people who play different classes, those classes preferred skills (and least preferred ones) is much more interesting than the choices a simple character makes. But then, I don't even play the game, so other people's opinions may vary.
  • Re:Great idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by obeythefist (719316) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:49PM (#18201054) Journal
    All else remaining equal, skill and co-ordination are decisive.

    But WoW is quite simplistic in terms of gameplay (really, it is very simple, warlock for example, dot-fear-dot, it's not complicated). As a result of the straightforward nature of gameplay, skill is a backseat compared to equipment.

    I know this because I play warrior a lot, and playing warrior is painful. It's painful because the blizzard developers balance the entire class around the 1% of warriors completely equipped with orange gear.

    It's true there's not much room to be unpredictable in your class, but you can keep an edge by keeping your capabilities hidden until the very last moment, just ask Sun Tzu. Blizzard have removed the ability for players to be secretive.

    And what about world PvP? You can now stalk your favourite enemy, work out how tough he really is, and exploit that information. Or, just as likely, he'll do that to you. Think about that next time you stroll out of Tarren Mill. Talk about emergent play.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:01PM (#18201166) Homepage Journal
    And wonder if they installed the tracking devices in my Amazon Warrior Queen when she was killed by the Morlocs? ...

    Seriously, this not only violates the Fog of War principle - I can't Inspect someone to far away from me - it is ridiculous.

    Now, if it was limited to your Guild ... that might make sense ... or even if it showed your reputation ... but everything else?

    RPG means Role-Playing-Game not Ridiculous-Privacy-Giveaway ...
  • by ADRA (37398) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:04PM (#18201202)
    I agree, basically one gigantic pivot chart would be where its at.
  • Hacked accounts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:06PM (#18201212) Homepage Journal
    Probably not. Which game recently had the political expose on game designers who were giving themselves and/or their social allies unfair game advantages? "Hacked accounts" are a convenient way of disguising those advantages similar to money laundering and it works both directions. It's also a source of profit like dropped Blackberrys or scratched CDs.
  • Re:Great idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gweihir (88907) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @07:27PM (#18201492)
    But WoW is quite simplistic in terms of gameplay (really, it is very simple, warlock for example, dot-fear-dot, it's not complicated). As a result of the straightforward nature of gameplay, skill is a backseat compared to equipment.

    Not my impression. I have a Mage, a Shaman and a Druid, and it is quite complicated what to do in what situation. Especially the Druid with changing forms at the right moment. By even the Mage allows advanced styles (it is an ice-Mage, fire-Mages are simple: do maxdamage, then die). I think that many players just don't realize what range they have at their disposal.

    And what about world PvP? You can now stalk your favourite enemy, work out how tough he really is, and exploit that information. Or, just as likely, he'll do that to you. Think about that next time you stroll out of Tarren Mill. Talk about emergent play.

    That may be an issue. But personally I think those playing on PvP servers get everything they deserve. Fairness is not really possible there. I am a bit too old for this type of foolishness.

  • Re:Not Anymore... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Old Wolf (56093) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @08:17PM (#18202040)
    Did anyone else notice that the page is *extremely* resource-intensive?
    When I click the Ajax link to view a player's details, it takes about 20
    seconds to just render the page -- not including download time (I'm on a P2-333).
    That could explain why it seems to be less reliable than OSDN which is just serving text.
  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday March 02, 2007 @09:27AM (#18206292)

    I'm a WoW player, just back & very casual in my playstyle. Do I give a crap if anyone can see my Character's build/gear/etc? Not one bit. I can see where some of the hardcore types might want to conceal their information, but IMHO its not a true "Your rights" issue - they are not revealing any information about YOU, just your character. The only "risk" here is if someone has some "secret" character build that kicks ass, its now exposed to the world - but on the same token, its not just about the build, but the player behind the keyboard. So a long-winded post to say "No I don't give a crap" :)
    I gotta agree with you. But on the "secret character build that kicks ass"... well, there really is no such thing in WoW. There's about five different ways any class can spend their talent points that actually work well, and everybody who's been playing a while knows all of them and how to fight against all of them. Sure, the added talents and points due to the expansion might have temporarily muddied the waters a bit, but that won't last long. As for gear.. most gear doesn't drastically alter your playstyle. WoW gear is just not that diverse. Mostly what it does is alter how powerful you are, and there's not a whole lot another player can do in changing their tactics to compensate for that. And on top of that, most experienced players (and by "experienced" I mean pretty much everyone who's leveled their own character to 60+) know what just about every piece of gear looks like, and can tell at a glance what an enemy is wearing and how powerful he might be.
  • Re:Bad Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday March 02, 2007 @09:46AM (#18206478)
    I would consider your post insightful, except that WoW just isn't very flexible in that way. Maybe you can scrape by at lower levels filling a role that your build is not designed for, but at 50+ not a chance. This is not to say that any given solid (though non-conventional) build is not useful in its own way. For example, lets say you were playing a druid. And then lets suppose that you liked your own personal variation of a balance talent spec. Now your build may be good in its own right, but if you're running this build at level 62 and your group needs you as a primary healer, you will not be able to function that role in anything of any real difficulty. You'll run out of mana too fast, if your heals are even powerful enough to begin with. Or if you're playing a warrior - a fury build may work ok for tanking at the deadmines, but it sure won't cut it as the main tank build for Naxxaramus.

    Now if we were talking about Guild Wars it would be a different story. GW is made for people like you who like to come up with their own builds. WoW sadly is not.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday March 02, 2007 @11:57AM (#18208030) Journal
    I hear you.

    I play a small MMO called Nexus TK -- 2D, nice community, and in-game bulletin boards. Every now and then I post on the boards attempting to clear this up, mostly because I feel the GMs and such who post to the board can do more harm than good with their suggestions.

    Essentially, their suggestions are to be paranoid in every way imaginable. Have anti-virus software, firewalls, etc, and don't follow any links anyone gives you, or download any files, at all, the end. So, I suggest that anti-virus is a good idea, but not really necessary if you stay up-to-date, and do follow links, download files, etc, as long as you're not stupid about it (don't use Internet Explorer, don't download and run EXEs, etc)...

    The message other members of the community post is "It's your fault if you get hacked." I have to correct them on that one; the game forces passwords to be 6-8 chars, and it seems to me that many passwords could be brute-forced or dictionary-attacked, and for all I know, they could be sniffed off the wire. So, I say "It's probably your fault, but then again, maybe someone hit you with a MITM attack, etc etc."

    Because the funny thing is, they tell you not to download files, but you do have to download the game as one big EXE.

    So, it would help if people had a good understanding of "hacking" and cracking. In fact, the game has a nice mechanism for educating people, which I do wish was updated every once in awhile -- when entering your guild hall (a place to get minor quests and spells, or choose a path), you get a window popup which tells you to take the Wisdom Test. If you do, it won't bug you for another two weeks. The Wisdom Test is sadly inaccurate and outdated, but it does help with some stupidity -- for instance, "Will buying a cable modem eliminate lag? True or false..."

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